"That was a pretty definitive review of these studies," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-death penalty advocacy group. "Ultimately it may be impossible to know if deterrence occurs, but we haven't proven it."
Overington, with 29 years in the House, is the longest-serving member of the chamber. And Republicans have made steady gains in the House, now just five seats shy of a majority. Nonetheless, his measure stands little chance of passing.
Republican Del. Ron Walters said his party would be misguided to risk their electoral gains by pushing controversial social issues like the death penalty. And the bill has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Chairman Tim Miley said it is unlikely to proceed.
The bill has one Democratic co-sponsor, Del. Rupert Philips, who said that people he's talked to while campaigning seem to support it.
"When's enough enough? We're wasting tax dollars trying to prosecute them," Philips said. "An eye for an eye."
However, most studies show that death penalty prosecutions are far more expensive than sentencing someone to life in prison. That's because states often spend years fighting inmates' appeals, sometimes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Miley also said many people are hesitant to reinstate the death penalty to avoid executing someone who was falsely convicted, citing the example of a West Virginia state police crime lab technician who was found to have falsified evidence in at least 134 cases that led to convictions.
Since 2009, 14 prisoners nationally who spent time on death row have been exonerated, many of them as a result of DNA testing. The first man ever exonerated from death row by DNA evidence, Kirk Bloodsworth, has become both a rallying call and a key lobbyist in the effort to repeal Maryland's death penalty.
Still, Overington said he's determined to make attempt No. 28 next year if his bill fails yet again.
"Some bills I've pushed I get passed the first year and some the second or third year and some take a little longer," Overington said. "But it is my intention to try again next year."